#WELL-PACKAGED
Local Ideas for Hard-to-Buy-For People

December 8, 2021

CHARACTER TRAIT: WELL-PACKAGED

DEFINITION: presented in a good, skillful or pleasing manner

Who is the hardest person to buy for on your list? These are the people who “don’t need a thing.” They “have everything they need.” They “want you to spend your shopping time somewhere else.”

And you’re thinking, “Great. Thanks for making it even more of a challenge.”

What if you could have a blast getting that person checked off this year? Let’s take a moment to review some of the unique local shopping options, and what you might find there. Across St. Joseph, local shopping is laid-back, quirky and fun – and all within a 10 to 15-minute drive from one side of town to another, plus easy parking. You might find a new favorite store and end up thanking that don’t-need-a-thing person.

Here are just some of the local shopping ideas to ponder:

AR Workshop:  It’s kind of like Santa’s workshop, but you have way more options. Grab a D-I-Y kit as a gift for someone who may want to craft when and where it’s most convenient. Or, purchase an in-person D-I-Y workshop experience where your person can make wood signs, canvas pillows, wood framed signs, bottle openers and more. Owned by Jessica and Jarett Estes, the AR Workshop retail area has a hand selected assortment of curated products, like home décor, fun signs, jewelry and so much more.

Katherine’s Distinctive Gifts:  Located on beautiful North 26th Street, just across from Pronto Café, Katherine’s features fine home decor, seasonal items and china. This long-time go-to for distinct gifts was mentioned in Midwest Living’s MidCetera blog.

Bee and Thistle: Located on the historic Ryan Block on Frederick Avenue, Bee and Thistle offers a big collection of fun things to explore in a beautiful space. It’s full of interesting gift ideas with a European connection and hand-picked items for your home from around the world.

St. Joseph Antique Mall: (In the former Cherry Mash building) Antiques, vintage collectibles, and timeless treasures you never knew you needed in a 20,000 square foot space. Founded in 2005, the St. Joseph Antique Mall was voted Favorite St. Joseph Antique Mall for two straight years. Check out the soda fountain area up front and the vintage record shop in the back. (Remember to actually shop for that hard-to-buy-for person while you’re exploring.)

Jesse James and Rusty Chandelier: If you’re on the antique and repurposed trail, head north to the Jesse James Antique Mall and the Rusty Chandelier. These separate-but-connected stores are expansive, full of every kind of inventory and offering must-haves on every price range. There’s also an outdoor shopping area where items are left for the elements to provide that just-right, a little old kind of look.

Unique Unicorn: Located downtown, Unique Unicorn offers the most complete collection of local and exotic indoor plants. Unlike the familiar big-pot, Unique Unicorn accompanies every purchase with expertise and lifelong advice. Stop by for a specialty houseplants adventure, including potting services, plant information and care tips, green living and gifts.

Garden Gate: A longtime and locally-owned St. Joseph name in flowers and gifts, Garden Gate also has a new line of products, curated from textiles, clothing, home decor and accessories.

Nesting Goods: This beautiful, spacious and curiosity-sparking home décor store is an experience in itself. Gift ideas here could range from locally-made jewelry, a few snarky signs, candles, affordable artwork, all types of home décor and even furniture. With rustic wood floors and gorgeous front windows, it’s a relaxing shopper wonderland.

Felix Street Gourmet: Part downtown upscale grocery store, part restaurant, part wine bar and part event space, Felix Street Gourmet has shelves stocked with imported jellies, sauces, mixers, cheeses, wines and so much more.

St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce: Stop by the Chamber on Frederick Avenue for St. Joseph-themed gifts from the Uncommon Character collection. These are just right to proudly send to anyone who lives here on your list, or who has moved away and wants to show people they are definitely still full of  “uncommon character.”

There are so many others to mention … like gifts in liquid form, tied up with pretty ribbons at Smooth Endings; gently used books at The Tiger’s Den; locally-roasted coffee and T-shirts at Mokaska; meats and wines at Clark’s; Black Cat Salvage downtown …  and don’t forget Shop St. Joseph tickets while the campaign lasts.

So today, thank a hard-to-buy-for person. Because they just opened the door for so many hours of browsing local and you know you will enjoy the challenge.

#WANDERLUST

Starting in the 1910s organizations, communities, and even private individuals began developing the first paved highways to connect metropolitan areas which would collectively become known as the National Auto Trail system.

#TIMELESS

Walking into Café Belle Epoque takes you back in time. The copper tin ceiling, marble table tops, hardwood floors, wood-burning stove and jazz music seem to transport you to a period of economic glamour in historic St. Joseph.

#OPPORTUNITY

There’s an old saying about open doors: “The best secret of success is to always be ready to find and open the door of opportunity.” This couldn’t be more true for local veterans or active duty military who wish to change careers. In fact, it’s likely to be several doors that open – not just one.

#LEADERSHIP

Real change in almost any environment happens from the inside out. And no one knows just how to create the kind of contagious change a community needs like the community members themselves. In St. Joseph, and many communities like it, a revolution is happening around this kind of grassroots-based leadership – and it’s only just begun.

#INVENTIVE

Attention all curious minds and inquisitive types: Let’s talk about making lightning. And robots.